Two local opticians are donating 800 pairs of specs for a charity which helps impoverished people in developing countries.

Specsavers stores in Seaham and Peterlee called on customers to donate unwanted glasses and were delighted when hundreds of people rallied to help.

The donation will be handed over to eyecare charity Vision Aid Overseas (VAO), which recycles glasses and uses the funds generated to help build vision centres, train local eyecare workers and deliver eyecare services to remote and isolated communities in five African nations.

Eric Thompson, director of Specsavers in Seaham and Peterlee, says: ‘I am overwhelmed by the support from the local community who have contributed to our VAO collection.

‘Instead of your old specs gathering dust at home, we are encouraging people to please bring them into the store.

‘The glasses, which are recycled, will make a huge difference to the lives of people who do not have access to basic eyecare services.’

Specsavers has worked closely with Vision Aid Overseas over the last decade. During this time, the optical retailer has raised more than £800,000 and has collected in excess of 250,000 pairs of glasses.

More than 58,000 eye tests have been carried out through Vision Aid Overseas activities in the last year. Find out more about the charity at